Why Filipino from the Speak South Speak English Recipe

With Filpinos  of the North

Many years ago,  when we  lived in a hamlet in the northern tip of Germany, I got a call from a Filipino who was married to another  German. We spoke over the telephone,  not in Filipino (the national language). Why did you not  speak to her  in your national language” my husband asked, quite  perplexed.

    “She didn’t speak Filipino because  she was born  and raised in Cebu, a, province  in the South. Nor  did  she speak  Ilocano, the language  spoken  in the North, where I was bor, Our common language was  English” I answered.

   I grew up speaking three languages; it was not unusual.almost every  Filipino  speaks more than two languages. Historians archaeologists, linguists  and  ethnologists have always maintained  that  the Philippines has eight major languages, nine if one include  English which had been the formal language of communication for more than eight decades. There are more than eight dialects. Actually,  I maintain  that  these  are languages, not dialects. The Cebuanos, the Visayans, the Bicolanos,  Pampanguenos, the Ilocanos, the Pangasinenses ect. Have  their own set of vocabularies – distinct from the other.

      Within  each dialect (or language)  are hundreds of variations  in intonations and eccentricities  depending on which  side of the river one grew up on. The Ilocanos from my Father’s home town taunt  me because  I speak like the Ilocanos from my Mother’s hometown . There is no  clear demarcation line between these two towns except for the way the people speak.

    Archaeologists and anthropologists write that thousands of years before the Philippines became known  to the western world, countless documents and records of a pre- existing  language existed. The Spanish conquistadores burned and obliterated any  written material that they could find in the Island. How ever , some were left hidden, untouched  and eventually unearthed in the Tabon caves  in Palawan-proof of the contention that there was  civilized written history before the Spanish colonization in the 1500s.

     There, in the Tabon caves, among  the shards of pottery; jewelry of gold and jade; implements  of bronze, metal, china and porcelain; clothes and silk and brocade, were plates  with some  writings on them, scrolls with the  old alphabet that closely resembled the Sanskrit language.

      Zoom to hundreds of years  later and we now  have the present colloquial spoken word in Philippines; Taglish, Tagspanglish- an intergrationof Tagalog, Spanish and English. The following new dish names demonstrate  the Filipinos natural ability to invent  in order to adapt and to cohere. Tapsilog is a breakfast combination of Tapa( a dried  beef of marinated sirloin). Sinangag ( fried rice with garlic) and itlog (eggs); or Longsilog ( for Longganiza or sausages) instead of the Tapa.

  Merienda  and dining sidewalk and road side booths serve” Fried Adidas” (  fried chicken feet) “ Walkman” (pig’s ears) ect. Throughout the day and night. The variety and the spontaneity  of new language,  in this case with name of food, reflect the resourcefulness, playfulness, childlike reverence, and the multiple cultural and ethnic background  of the Filipino.

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